Penn College Paralegal Student Lends Expertise to Task Forces

Published 11.10.2015

Student News
School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications News

Stormie B. Mauck has yet to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in legal assistant/paralegal studies, but the Pennsylvania College of Technology student already has a full-time job at a Williamsport law firm and is lending her expertise to two Lycoming County task forces – one focused on elder abuse and the other on heroin.

The Beech Creek resident, who says she’s known since middle school that a law career was ideal for her, is a civil litigation paralegal at Lepley, Engelman & Yaw and recently began volunteering for the Elder Law Task Force and Project Bald Eagle, a successor to the Heroin Task Force. Both initiatives are focused on community education and were spearheaded by Lycoming County President Judge Nancy L. Butts.

Stormie B. Mauck, in Penn College's law libraryMauck is assisting Butts in the development of the county’s Elder Law Task Force devoted to ensuring the rights of elderly and incapacitated populations are recognized and upheld. Last year, numerous recommendations handed down by the Elder Law Task Force of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania included the creation or continuation of elder abuse task forces in each county to develop best practices, facilitate information sharing, and enable and promote collaboration among service agencies and other organizations.

“The task force will work toward making the Lycoming County court system more accessible to our elders in cases involving abuse, neglect, guardianship and other matters,” Mauck said. “Many elderly facing incapacitation hearings don’t know they have the right to an attorney or to have an independent medical examination. Many are not aware that if they are legally determined ‘incapacitated’ they will lose their right to enter into contracts and to manage their own finances.”

For her part in aiding the Elder Law Task Force, Mauck is consulting with the Pennsylvania Institute on Protective Services to gain information regarding starting the task force, and she is  reaching out to various local agencies and organizations to facilitate roundtable discussions.

“Stormie has been an enormous help in coordinating the pre-planning and logistics to convene the Elder Law Task Force,” Butts said. “She is very bright and has an incredible work ethic. I hope that she can see this project through with me until she heads off to law school.”

Mauck’s work with Project Bald Eagle is a continuation of her volunteer work with the former Lycoming County Heroin Task Force and mostly includes writing press releases and assisting with social media sites as part of that task force’s attempt to educate the public on resources available for individuals and families affected by the growing epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse.

“Heroin is a devastating problem in our community, and everyone should get behind the efforts to educate our youth and the public,” Mauck said.

Butts added: “Beginning with the Heroin Task Force, and now with Project Bald Eagle, education of the public is our No. 1 priority. Having Stormie’s social media savvy has really increased our public profile!”

Project Bald Eagle is a nonprofit, community-based, public health initiative supported by Penn College, Lycoming College, Susquehanna Health System and Lycoming County.

Mauck earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in legal assistant/paralegal in May 2014 and plans to attain her bachelor’s degree in May 2016. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA and was named to Lambda Epsilon Chi, the national honor society founded by the American Association for Paralegal Education.

She was hired as a full-time paralegal at Lepley, Engleman & Yaw following an internship there in Spring 2014. Mauck also works as a legal and writing tutor in the college’s Writing Center.

Next, she is applying to law school.

In addition to all that she juggles professionally, Mauck is the single parent of a 5-year-old daughter, Emma.

She says she initially decided to only enroll in the associate-degree program because “I figured two years wouldn’t be a giant impact on my daughter’s life.”

Mauck added: “When I got into the program, I realized I found my calling. I actually like doing my homework. And, my internship was so rewarding because I was putting all of my knowledge into play.”

The 2009 Central Mountain High School graduate says she’s received a great deal of support and encouragement from her parents – Brian and Sharla Mauck – and her professors.

“I’m in the first generation of my family to go to college,” she said. “My dad is always inspiring me to reach my potential. His unwavering support and belief in me has really motivated me.”

She has also received a great deal of support from her legal assistant/paralegal professors at Penn College.

“My professors are all approachable and extremely knowledgeable,” Mauck said. “They sincerely want to see you succeed. They also understand you have a life outside of school.”

One who stands out in her mind is Kevin R. Derr, professor of legal assistant.

“I was much less outgoing when I started college. Kevin got me into tutoring and helped me get my internship,” Mauck said. “From my first semester, he insisted that I get my bachelor’s degree and further my education. He constantly told me, ‘It would be a waste of your talent to not pursue some type of grad program.’ I would not have continued on if it wasn’t for his persistent encouragement. The faculty in the paralegal program encourage you to do everything you can to further yourself.”

Progressing in her professional, as well as personal, life is something this Penn College student takes seriously.

“I want to be an inspiration to my daughter. I want her to see that if you work really hard, nothing is unobtainable. I hope my daughter looks up to me and never lets anything stand in the way of her aspirations,” Mauck said.

For more on legal assistant/paralegal studies at Penn College, visit online.

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